Election Costs and Billing

Lynda Roberts, Registrar of Voters, Elections
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Estimated Cost of Elections to Cities, Schools, and Special Districts

NOTE: all costs are per registered voter.

It costs Marin County approximately $800,000 to $1,000,000 to conduct a countywide election. Cities, schools and special districts that have candidates and/or measures on the ballot pay their share of this cost, while the county covers the remaining costs. Below are the estimated costs to cities, schools and special districts for regular and special elections.

The following table applies to cities, school districts, or special districts.

Type of Election Cost Per Registered Voter
Statewide Primary election $1.75 – $3.00 per registered voter
Statewide General election $1.75 – $3.00 per registered voter
November odd year election (UDEL) Due to Senate Bill No. 415, passed in 2015, the cost of this election is expected to increase.
Special election at polls $8.00 – $10.00 per registered voter
Special election by mail ballot $4.00 – $8.00 per registered voter

The costs listed above are estimated, not guaranteed costs. They do not include the direct costs to jurisdictions on the ballot, such as the costs of typesetting and printing candidates' statements or measures. Election costs are influenced by the number of jurisdictions sharing the ballot and by the number of contests and measures that a jurisdiction has on the ballot. The more measures and contests a jurisdiction has on the ballot, the higher cost per registered voter. If the jurisdiction is alone on the ballot, it will incur the full cost of the election.

Set-up Fee

Jurisdictions which start the election process, whether or not they go on the ballot, will be charged a set-up fee. The set-up fee for schools and special districts is $250.00. The set- up fee for cities and towns is $50. Cities and towns pay a lower set-up fee because the city and town clerks perform most of the up-front work for their elections.

Method of calculating election costs

Marin County uses the cost sharing method described in the report, A Jurisdiction Cost-Sharing of Consolidated Elections in Marin County, California. The report was prepared for Marin County in 2003 by Government Finance Research, 2023 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, Phone (916) 447-5520.

For a copy of the report, contact Jane Crownover, Administrative Services, Election Department.